Liv-Plantur announced today that it has signed former Dutch champion Lucinda Brand to a two-year contract. With the Rabo-Liv team still looking for a title sponsor after the exit of Rabobank from the sport, the 27-year-old is the second rider to jump ship after Olympic Games gold medallist Anna van der Breggen signed with Boels-Dolmans.
"I am very happy with my contract at Team Liv-Plantur," Brand said. "It's a great new challenge after four years with Rabobank-Liv. I am looking forward to moving my career in a new direction and this represents a great opportunity to challenge myself in several ways. The professional structure, staff, the team approach and its philosophy to top sports meet my ambitions. In addition, I will have the tools and some designated targeted races that perfectly fit my abilities to go for my chances and this overall picture is just what I am looking for."
Brand, twice the national champion in the road race, is a strong all-rounder who has won the GP de Plouay-Bretagne World Cup, stages in the Giro Rosa, the overall Enegiewacht Tour, and most recently the Erondegemse Pijl one-day race.
Team Liv-Plantur coach Hans Timmermans said they had been following Brand's career and "always admired her ability on the bike".
"Our objective is to be one of the leading teams in women's cycling in the short-term by applying the same 'Keep Challenging' approach as our men program, and the signatures of Lucinda and other talented key riders are important next steps in achieving that. Lucinda is one of the few riders who can naturally read the race, together with her physiological level and her loyal personality, we can help her develop into one of the best road captains in the world.
"On top of that, she is able to make use of her skills in the finish, which is clearly important for the most challenging races. Furthermore, we are intensively working to develop our sprint lead-out and she will play an important part in that process in order to increase the quality significantly."
"With Floortje [Mackaij] and Sabrina [Stultiens] we already have two big talents for the future where development is pivotal. This year Leah [Kirchmann] has also joined, who has already achieved great results in the WorldTour, as she currently is third overall, proving she is among the world class riders at the moment. We have monitored great progression and we clearly see our way of working is paying off. Together we want to challenge the current leaders and through teamwork and a strong collective, we can be successful. Lucinda has vast experience and knowledge and she will be one of our leaders, as well as playing the role of road captain during the races and her presence will bring our team up to the next level."
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